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“The most beautiful place I have ever stayed”

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Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge
Ranked #5 of 28 Otavalo B&B and Inns
Ellsworth, Maine
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The most beautiful place I have ever stayed”
Reviewed 21 November 2013

Ali Shungu is the most beautiful place I have ever stayed. My friend and I spent our last night there following a hectic business trip in Otavalo, and before heading to the jungle. The guesthouse we stayed in was exquisitely decorated, and even the most expensive camera in the world could not capture the beauty of the panoramic views from every window and around the grounds. The meals were delicious, as was the wine! Upon arrival, we were served homemade soup, and that was only the beginning of the the wonderful feast that followed later in the evening.
During our short stay, Frank and Margaret invited some of the local people from the area to the lodge. While drinking delicious coffee, we talked about life in the village and learned about local culture. While we chatted, we listened to regional folk music from Frank and Margaret's vast collection. The furnishings and the art in the lodge are amazing, and each piece has a unique story of its own. That evening will always be special to me, as I experienced so much of Ecuador in that special setting in such a short period of time. The next morning, Fabian, the driver, arrived at 0430 to take us to the airport to get to our next adventure in the jungle. But before going to the airport, he took us to a hotel near the airport where we would be able to store our luggage. We needed to leave it where we could retrieve it quickly for our flight back to the USA following our jungle adventure. This very important detail was pre-arranged by Frank and Margaret. Ali Shungu is a wonderful place to stay. The hosts will do everything possible to accommodate your needs to ensure you enjoy your stay. As I write this review and reflect on all that I experienced in less than 24 hours, I am amazed.

Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
Thank seurabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Frankfurt, Germany
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 November 2013

Ali Shungu is a great place to stay when in the Otavalo area. My wife, two-year-old daughter, and I stayed three nights and enjoyed every minute of it. Everything written in the other reviews is spot on. Each guesthouse is tastefully decorated and very spacious. The regional folk music added to the atmosphere, as did the wood burning stove.

You can tell a place has good service when the reviews on TripAdvisor mention the staff by name, as most people have here with Ali Shungu. Jose Maria did a great job of tending to our needs and my daughter loved the horseback ride through the village he took us on. Paulina was a great server and many thanks to the cook for the excellent food she prepared. And we are grateful for our driver Fabian.

Frank was definitely born to do what he does as we always had a full itinerary and he took care of all the logistics for us, allowing us to fully enjoy the time we had there. That we were able to visit with and learn about the local people of the area was the number one advantage of staying at the lodge. We visited the elementary school down the road and were warmly welcomed by the students there. Miguel Andrango showed us the absolutely fascinating process of weaving a blanket, from the clump of wool as shaved off the sheep to the woven finished product. And because our visit coincided with Dia de los Muertos, we were able to witness the masses of Kichwa families celebrating their deceased family members at the cemetery. Many thanks to Frank for pulling everything together for us, as well as showing us around the animal and craft markets.

If you are traveling with children, there is no better place to stay than here. The many different animals on the property entertained my daughter the entire time. Llamas, horses, chickens, cows, pigs…all very friendly and allowed my daughter to experience them up close and personal, bringing to life the things she only knew from her picture books. I have never seen two dogs with better temperaments than Sara and Paco. They were very patient with my extremely inquisitive daughter. And thanks again to Frank for the “Bread Doll” he gave to Sophie to take to the cemetery, just as the local families do.

I have nothing bad to say about Ali Shungu and can confirm it is well worth the price. We all hope we can return there one day in the future.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank hansi74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 October 2013

Ali Shungu is a beautiful, working farm outside Otavalo. Don Francisco is a terrific host who takes good care of his guests. We stayed in a large cabin that was beautifully decorated with art and crafts from the area and equipped with a wood stove. We stayed two nights and wished we had had more time to enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Breakfasts and dinners were fantastic—large and delicious, often featuring produce from the farm. We took a horseback ride, included with our cabin, that allowed us to see the surrounding area. Our guide, Jose Maria, is the world’s hardest working man. He started a fire in our cabin first thing in the morning and came back again in the afternoon to make sure we’d be warm through the night. He also gave us hot water bottles after dinner—I hadn’t fully appreciated the comfort they provide until this trip. This lodge is a fair distance from town and requires a car (preferably four wheel drive). Don Francisco took us to the big market on Saturday morning and arranged a driver to take us to San Antonio de Ibarra.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Lillian W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 October 2013

My friend and I had some business in Otavalo, but wanted to have a special ending to our days there. We had stayed in the former Ali Shungu Hotel and knew that the original owners, Frank and Margaret, had built this new place nearby in the mountains. Well, this was incredible with postcard views, a huge mini lodge all to ourselves with furnishings and amenities that are gorgeous, really, I thought I was living in an Ecuadorean artisan gift shop. The food was superb, much as I remembered, and our hosts delightful. We had to leave early for a flight and even had our own boxed breakfast! After indulging in plenty of food and wine, the wait staff in the main lodge prepared hot water bottles for us to keep snuggly warm. Horseback riding, walking trails, photo-ops with llamas, beautiful gardens, and a well stocked gift shop are available as well. It's quiet and authentic staying away from the city and observing life in the mountain with the typical homes and farmland. If you want a special memory and a luxurious stay, I highly recommend the Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge. It's a short taxi ride from Otavalo but a world of difference with its stunning vistas and world class amenities. I will stay here again for sure!!

Room Tip: The villas are all similar and the views are incredible. The décor is exceptional and comfort could...
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank jacquie10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lincoln, Nebraska
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 October 2013

We spent 4 peaceful nights enjoying the first part of out trip through the Ecuadoran Sierra. Hidden away on a hillside with a gorgeous panoramic view of two volcanic peaks, the lodge is a perfect place to slow down and remember what its like not to have a frantic schedule. Frank is a great host whose many years in the area make him a good source of local information. You can chill out in the large, comfortable and attractive "cabins" or choose from a list of local activities and excursions that Frank is very helpful in explaining. He works with a couple of reliable, affordable drivers who can take you to a variety of places.
Cant believe I havent mentioned the food yet! Abundant, delicious, healthy vegetarian feasts for breakfast and dinner, and home made soups available if you're there for lunch. The local girls who work in the kitchen and restaurant are wonderful-- sweet and talented people. And a cozy fire will be waiting for you in your cabin when the sun goes down.
I completely recommend the comfortable hospitality of AliShungu if you're going to Otavalo.

Room Tip: Not a bad location on the property. All guest houses have a beautiful view.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank FoodBruja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 September 2013

Frank and Margaret's Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge exceeded my expectations - great location, great property, great view, great food, and awesome hosts. The staff was wonderful. We felt welcomed. The guest houses were well appointed. We want to go back...and stay longer. I have a feeling we will be seeing Frank and Margaret again.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank PMC50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, England, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 September 2013 via mobile

A rough and bumpy ride brought us to this idealic guest house away from busy downtown Otavalo. The cottages were huge, clean and very well appointed. The 2 meals a day were amazingly fresh and well sorced with many of the items coming from the garden. Frank and his wife were the font of all knowledge having lived in the area for over 20 years. Well worth a visit.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
Thank Michael C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge

Property: Ali Shungu Mountaintop Lodge
Address: Imbabura, Otavalo 100450, Ecuador (Formerly Rancho Ali Shungu)
Region: Ecuador > Imbabura Province > Otavalo
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 28 B&Bs / Inns in Otavalo
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Travelers enjoy the tranquility and beauty of Andean Mountains and Culture in our warm and spacious guesthouses, surrounded by 40 acres of private gardens and forests ...all just a few minutes from the world famous markets of Otavalo. ... more   less 

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